When I found out I was going to be the assistant conductor for Moby-Dick, I knew it meant that I was going to have to read the book. My attitude about that prospect was probably very much like yours. Sigh. But the choice was unflinching: Either I'm going to read Moby-Dick now, when I have every possible motivation and sufficient time, or I'm just never going to read it. Short of actually going on an extreme whaling vacation, I couldn't think of a more obvious circumstance to do something that I've long said I wanted to do. I'm happy I read it, and it made me feel more prepared, but it was unnecessary. Heggie's Moby-Dick does not need a primer to appreciate it, to explain it or even to fill in the blanks, it stands on its own as a thrilling and genuinely dramatic modern opera. But let's back up.

 

Posted: 10/22/2012 by Joseph Marcheso (Assistant Conductor, Moby-Dick)


Have you seen the August issue of Opera News? The cover story is called “Opera’s Next Wave: The Voices and Faces of the Future.” It’s a great article, and well worth reading while it’s still out on newsstands. Here at San Francisco Opera, we couldn’t help but swell with pride at how many familiar faces graced the pages of this article. Quite a good number of these up and coming opera stars have performed on the War Memorial Opera House stage in the last several years or are scheduled to make debuts in the near future. Which of these fine young musicians, which Opera News predicts will “break out and become major forces in the field in the coming decade,” have we brought to Bay Area audiences lately? Allow us a trip down memory lane. [Left: Luca Pisaroni in The Marriage of Figaro]

Posted: 08/10/2012 by San Francisco Opera


Since announcing the world première of Mark Adamo’s The Gospel of Mary Magdalene for the Spring/Summer of 2013, many subscribers have asked me why we chose to do an opera on this subject. My response is that this is one of the world’s great stories in a new and exciting version, written and performed by some of the most extraordinary artists in opera today. Some, though, have expressed bewilderment. “Mary Magdalene, sure: but a Gospel of Mary? My Bible includes only the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John! How can this be an opera?”

Posted: 03/28/2012 by David Gockley (General Director)


 One of the hardest things to do in an opera is to be able to translate a basic question, or set of questions, into something visual which brings them to life in a dramatic context.
 
 “How do you remember the fallen?” was one of the important questions which Donna and I felt threaded the opera and this was answered in many through the main protagonist, Rick Rescorla. [Left: Thomas Hampson, who sings the role of Rick Rescorla in the opera, with Christopher Theofanidis.]
 
Posted: 09/16/2011 by Christopher Theofanidis (Composer, Heart of a Soldier)


We are thrilled to be kicking off our official Backstage at San Francisco blog. This first blog post comes from Christopher Theofanidis—the composer of Heart of a Soldier, our world premiere commission based on the book of the same name by James B. Stewart. Heart of a Soldier will have its premiere on September 10, 2011—the eve of the tenth anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. While the opera may be new to all of us, there are many who have been working on it for years now. Read on to gain insight into some of the musical challenges Christopher worked through early in his composing process.

Posted: 08/15/2011 by Christopher Theofanidis (Composer, Heart of a Soldier)


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Introduction

Backstage at San Francisco Opera is a fascinating, fast-moving, mysterious and sacred space for the Company’s singers, musicians, dancers, technicians and production crews. Musical and staging rehearsals are on-going, scenery is loaded in and taken out, lighting cues are set, costumes and wigs are moved around and everything is made ready to receive the audience. From the principal singers, chorus and orchestra musicians to the creative teams for each opera, in addition to the many talented folks who don’t take a bow on stage, this blog offers unique insight, both thought-provoking and light-hearted, into the life backstage at San Francisco Opera.

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